Haibun: Fear of Sparrows

This is my first attempt at a haibun, a form that I have seen quite a few of my fellow poets attempt at the dVerse Poets Pub. So tonight, for Open Link Night with Grace, I thought I’d give it a whirl myself. Not quite right for the Dog Days of Summer prompt earlier this week, but moving in that direction…

You trill and chirp, flutter hither and thither with worms, blades of grass, twiglets in your beak. The tree branches shiver in anticipation of your landing. All hops and thrills, you sway and tilt your winsome head sideways with cheeky flourish.

I so want to make friends. But can you not feel the menace of our feline, belly crouched below the green line? Perhaps we should have fastened bells to her collar, or perhaps she’ll be too slow. I know we’ve let the grass grow too long: one swift spring and your family could be decimated.

Small but persistent
They play happy families –
Sparrows on my sill.

Tree Poetry

Abhra Pal is hosting us over at dVerse Poets Pub and inviting us to write about trees, to think, be and feel tree. I always have to think about Ogden Nash’s tongue-in-cheek approach to tree poetry:

I think that I shall never see 
a billboard lovely as a tree. 
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall, 
I’ll never see a tree at all.

TreeFor a diverse and interesting take on this prompt, please visit the other poets at the Pub. But here is a rough writing exercise about the tree in my garden. And no, I don’t know what kind of tree it is. I told you I am the world’s worst gardener, right?


I’m not good with names,

but I never met a tree I didn’t like.

This one is a toddler:

it greens so easily at the first blush of spring.

Shot up a metre when I looked away,

no longer hugged by the window frame.

Unruly and curly,

messy and fussy,

now a badly coiffed teenager windswept on all sides,

then a woman’s cascading morning glory,

promise of nights to come.

Leaves are gnarled and twisted too,

they sing the blues, over smoky-voiced guitars in distant jazz-clubs.

Skinny branches twist in painful shapes,

not quite weeping willow.

They arch up against gravity

with just occasional droops.

A fearless tree, shaking its mane

against a backdrop of mountains.

A sapling with just as much claim to eternity

as the Jurassic stones behind it.




Courtesy of www.deshow.net
Courtesy of http://www.deshow.net

Becoming more experimental in my old age… This is a writing exercise, a sort of prose poem based on free association with certain words or concepts. Very rough, but it was fun to do. I’m linking it to the Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub – join us for drinks, fun, good humour and lots of great (and very varied) poetry.

Wingspan: endless.

Eyesight: acute.

Disposition: heartless.

Victims: too numerous to mention.

Wanted in several countries as symbol of boldness, greatness, goal-orientation.  A menace to one’s enemies, totemic of clear-sightedness.

But, locking your gaze onto a distant target, what might you be missing in the quiet corners, the nooks of your eyes?

Sudden swoop of power, then a lifetime of solitude on some bald crag of unnamed rock. Pecking at unwanted liver of a chap who never understood just why he was being punished.

Give me the magpie any day. Distracted, thieving, but always on the lookout for ideas, objects, friends.  A life of peripheral vision.


Summer Idyll

Copyright: M. Thomson, www.bbc.co.uk
Copyright: M. Thomson, http://www.bbc.co.uk

Summer at last and the heat is going to our heads over at dVerse Poets Pub.  Here is a remembrance of things past and a vision of things future.

Our summers no longer the buzz-filled lolling

in hay mounds

or stooping for details

and blow-squeak through grass stalks.

No more lifting our gaze for cloud-naming, tongue-hopping,

when laid-back wonders were open to all

and the neighbours’ cherries the sweetest by far.


Now lazy means each one tucked snug on our planet

in a bubble of tablets and phones,

convinced we’re connecting

enthralled to go global

we feel the roar and hum of the entire world in our palms.


While bees expire by installments around us…

Dawn Chorus

I was up early today and opened my window to the most amazing, glorious sound.  And of course tree blossoms of any kind always, always remind me of Japan, hence the variations on the haiku format below.


Curlicued dawn calls.

My heart fills: joyful chorus

of effort not mine.


Only in our dreams

Do birds contemplate:

Singing, breathing become one.


Oh, to fly into summer

on the wings of mellow tunes,

nestle in pink buds!


If Only

Unusually for me, a poem that rhymes, for the Open Link Night at dVerse Poets PubEven more unusually, this is composed on the road, in a hotel room, while travelling on business. Finding words for poetry when you are in business mode is like digging for truffles with an ancient, half-blind pig with a severe head-cold.


If you gather heather daily,

pluck one out for me.

Lay it softly on my dreamscape,

let its scent swoop me free.


If you walk the coastal pathway,

battle on its up,

harness west wind, chill the longing,

whirl the storms in a cup.


If you stop too soon, too often,

doubts creep in, seduce.

So race pulses, flash the radars,

cut down, cut out, reduce.

Holiday Haikus

Snowy landscapeSilver mother-tongue:

winter nights are still too short

to share you with friends.


If you must pass too:

let the murmur of the snow

be your only guide.


Our Falcon-hut

hugs its icy green mantle

closer to its heart.


Shrill squawks of delight

our boys, your boys: who can tell?

Bundled-up snowmen.


If laughter ceases,

what is left? Bring more mulled wine!

Games room rings with us.


Inside the prison,

outside of the storm,

I am laughing.